At long last I took a trip to Kimchi Cult – a hidden gem just off Byres Road and Glasgow’s first Korean style fast food restaurant.
It has a lively and compact set-up with a quick-service approach to dining with an open kitchen and a large menu display above.
The décor is playful and retro with fun geometric prints and mix + match patterned bowls and silver metal chopsticks.
Established in 2011, the place has made a great name for itself and is the only one of its kind.
‘Very traditional method’
To those unfamiliar with the term ‘kimchi’ it is simply a fermented salted spicy cabbage, that people worship and love.
Fermenting vegetables is a very traditional method when it comes to authentic Korean cooking.
Kimchi uses our favourite Asian flavours of chilli powder, garlic, ginger to create its distinctive taste. There are over 180 different versions of kimchi.
I wanted to try out a few different things on the menu as I was a bit of a “first-timer” with Korean cuisine.
First on the agenda is one of their most popular dishes, the ‘bibimbap’, £7, which is a Korean rice bowl filled with an array of vivid vegetables which I decided to top with panko prawn.
All the components of the bowl combine together with such a pop of flavour, each element carrying its own individual kick.
“All the components of the bowl combine together with such a pop of flavour, each element carrying its own individual kick”
The bowl is filling yet surprisingly refreshing, with its cucumber chips, carrot shreds and most importantly the tangy kimchi with its vibrant orange colour.
True to its name, the kimchi was the main component that carried the dish. I can now join the kimchi fan club.
I also tried out the ‘bao’, a Taiwanese steamed bun, at £4 each. I tried out two different ones out of a possible four flavours; a pork with hoisin sauce + sriracha and a panko prawn with tonkatsu sauce.
Perfect soft buns packed with a mixture of sweet and spice. The different textures work really nicely together and I would definitely rate the hoisin pork bao.
“Perfect soft buns packed with a mixture of sweet and spice. The different textures work really nicely together and I would definitely rate the hoisin pork bad”
There was also a special board that changes it up and features a different bao day to day.
My favourite dish for me was the Korean fried chicken for £7. Juicy succulent chicken thighs, one lathered in an incredible gochujang hot sauce and the other in a tasty soy garlic glaze. Both were completely delicious, in the crispiest fried batter.
Such rich colours and intense taste, just thinking about it I want to go back as soon as possible for another basket of Korean chicken. Too good not to try it for yourself.
I think Kimchi Cult has successfully put its unique twist and very own stamp on Korean food, delivering so many great dishes.
I haven’t come across anywhere else like it and I totally understand the hype and why it’s achieved such a great reputation.
I think it fits perfectly into the heart of Glasgow’s West End, and offers itself as one of the many fantastic places to eat at.
Happy to report that I will definitely return to revisit the favorites and try out their new creations, and if you haven’t already given it a visit… go join the cult and be part of the kimchi craze.
14 Chancellor St
G11 5RQ, UK
0141 258 8081